Defined by their quaint and antique original features that have been blended with modern finishes and conveniences, houses of character in Malta are attractive properties that make stunning family homes. Around the world, houses are described as having character but in Malta, there is a whole style of property known as a “house of character”. In the UK or the USA for example, a house is rarely listed as such but is usually included in the blurb about the house itself. In real estate listings in Malta, there are entries for this type of property. They are a much sought-after property and are usually snapped up quickly when they go onto the market.
What is a House of Character?
They are among the most charming properties in Malta and Gozo and might be a house in a town or village or a farmhouse, but most likely in a rural setting. Some can be more than 500 years old. This is a style of property that is defined by its features.
ThE features that contribute to houses of character include:
THE GENERAL FUTURES INCLUDE:
- Vaulted ceilings
- Wooden beams
- Wooden apertures
- Patterned tiles
- Flagstone floors
- Myriad niches, nooks, and crannies
THE SPECIAL FUTURES INCLUDE:
- Spiral staircases
- Wine cellars
- Mill rooms
- Inner courtyards
- Stone arches
Houses of character to buy in Malta are either converted or unconverted. This does not mean that converted properties have been subdivided to make smaller dwelling units – another way in which property terminology in Malta differs to elsewhere. Unconverted means the property is pretty much in its original state, whereas converted means it has been updated with modern finishes to make a contemporary home while original features have been retained (and maybe refurbished if required). Converted properties may also be a number of these houses that have been connected together to make a good-sized family home.
In the 1980s and 1990s, it was a popular trend to buy and convert houses of character which has resulted in fewer unconverted properties being available.
Why Buy a House of Character?
The question here depends on whether you are looking for a converted or unconverted property.
Essentially, a converted house of character should be ready to move into and the buying process is the same as for any other style of property.
An unconverted property is a great choice if you are looking for a “fixer-upper”. All the original features will be there, but you can finish it off to your own taste and standards. The work involved is more demanding, but the reward will be a stunning family home. You will need to comply with strict MEPA regulations and the agency will inspect to ensure the conditions have been met.
It also isn’t just a matter of the purchase price. There are significant additional costs and also a major time factor. You’ll need to consider:
- A list of expenses that includes architect fees, notary fees, permits, and any construction workers or tradesmen required to work on the property.
- The time required to acquire permits from MEPA
- The time required to find the right tradespeople and their availability
- Renovation time
Work required could be major and might include new flooring, plumbing, rewiring and new outlets, waterproofing or damp courses, air conditioning and solar panels. It would be unwise to proceed without working with an architect who will be able to report on the condition of the building and provide an approximate idea of expenses and a time frame of work to be done.
Note also, ongoing maintenance costs are likely to be more than for a modern house or apartment.
Why Rent a House of Character?
This is a much less complicated matter. Houses of character to rent in Malta will be converted properties. Work will have been completed to make them into a family home. They will be unique to those dwellings around them and you will find yourself renting a property of some distinction. Location is going to be a major factor because of their most usual rural location. Rental costs will depend on the same criteria as for renting any other property.